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Rim Rip Off


Good day everyone,

I bent a rim on my A3 and after trying twice to get it bent back I have decided to just replace the rim.
The dealership is telling me it is $1,500 to replace the rim, and another shop is telling me $1,200, both of which I think are complete rip-offs. I have found a similar looking rim online for under $250, and it looks like it is the one for my car (2012 Sport Package 18" five-tri-spoke alloy) but I want to be certain I a) get the right rim and b) that the price I am being quoted is indeed extortionate. The tires I have on there now are 255/40 ZR 18 02YM 5 Raidial Tubeless, so if I am reading this right, I am dealing with a rim that is 18" in diameter by 7.5’ width. Any help/confirmation is much appreciated. Thank you!

To get the correct wheel (rim) you need 5 dimensions. Diameter, width, offset, pilot hole and bolt circle (including how many bolt holes).

This explains it:

As far as the rest of your questions… Yes, dealer sourced factory wheels for an expensive German car are expensive. Get used to it. or sell it. It will only gets worse.

That “similar” looking wheel for the car is a complete guess even if it matches ALL the dimensions of the factory wheel and even then it will not match the factory wheel for quality or weight or even fit over the factory brakes. And it won’t ever exactly match - you said similar, not exact. Un-matching wheels reduce your car’s resale value, by more than that $1500 wheel. Seeing one mismatched wheel, as a buyer, tells me the previous owner was too cheap to properly maintain this expensive car.

Why not find a used wheel off the same type Audi that matches exactly? Money saved, matching wheel and factory quality.


The 255 is the tread width in millimeters.

The 40 is the aspect ratio of the sidewall.

So 255 X.40 is 102 millimeter sidewall height.

It has nothing to do with the width of the rim.


The 255 is the section width. The tread width is typically narrower.

The section width and aspect ration are both related to the rim width in that a tire of a given section width and aspect ration will only mount properly on a specific range of rim widths. You cannot, for example, safely mount a 235X30X17 tire on a 7" rim. You might get it on, but the beads will not be properly seated and it may not stay sealed when you go over a road hazard. It also won’t perform properly, as the sidewall will not be properly formed and will cause rollover of the thread.

Contact a salvage yard and see if they can locate a wheel from a totaled vehicle like yours. I would not risk one from Ebay . You could also check on replacing all four for less money than the price of one original.


You can go to an on line store like Tire Rack and find out what the standard A3 rim dimensions are. I’d look for a used rim first. You might find one for less than half of the new rim cost.

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Why not eBay? I took a quick look and there’s hordes of Audi wheels on there at reasonable prices. Not knowing what your particular wheel looks like I am unable to link you to an exact fit wheel.

Keep in mind that expensive does not mean rip-off. Distasteful yes; thievery no.

Thanks for the comments everyone.I have found three online but, never having paid much attention to rims, I wanted to make sure that I am getting the right one. I appreciate all of the advice! I ordered one and am now very confident I have the right one I need.

Question for the experts here: Beyond the issues of fitment, is there any concern about replacing just one rim? I’m thinking the replacement rim probably isn’t identical to the originals remaining on the car. Is there an issue that the car’s handling might affected if the replacement rim weight didn’t match the other rims? Or had other kinds of differences that might affect handling? Would it be safer for the OP to replace both rims, so they’d have identical rims on that axle?

If OP continues to have bent rims problems, they might want to ask their tire place if there is a less susceptible tire & wheel size combo than the low profile tires currently installed.

If all dimensions are the same the only difference is weight, which would make little difference.

But it would sure look odd…

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If one wheel weighed less, for example when you were coming to a stop that wheel wouldn’t have as much rotational inertia compared to the other wheel. Wouldn’t that affect your ability to stop in a straight line? Same thing might happen when you quickly accelerate, the car may tend to veer one direction.

If the weight difference was large, maybe. But probably not for most wheels.

There is a greater imbalance inside the car with the weight of the driver/passengers.

I saw a shop selling a display rack with 12 different 20" truck rims for $250. Would work IF you found 2 pairs of similar wheels. 4 different rims on truck? Ya, silly.

I’d guess the difference would be small, rotating or translating. Even a spinning wheel’s moment of inertia is small compared to the weight and moment of inertia of an entire car. Has anybody hit the ABS brakes when their steel-wheeled spare tire is mounted on a corner? Or the much lighter temporary spare? Did you feel any pulling or even much of a difference at all?

I really can’t feel more than a tiny difference and that’s coming from a guy who used to get paid to feel those differences.

The temp spare in one car I owned was ONLY to be used on the front of this RWD car because of the Torsen limited slip differential. If you got a rear flat, you were to mount the small diameter space-saver spare on the front, then move the front to the rear and the flat rear to the trunk!

Mine is the opposite: The temporary spare tire must be used only on a rear wheel. If a front wheel tire gets punctured, replace the wheel with a rear wheel and install the temporary spare tire in place of the removed rear wheel.

also: When using the temporary spare tire, note the following.
. Do not exceed 50 mph (80 km/h).
. Do not use two or more temporary spare tires at the same time.
. Do not drive over obstacles. This tire has a smaller diameter, so road clearance is reduced.

But there is no distance limit, aside from the vague statement:
Remove the temporary spare tire and reinstall the conventional tire as soon as possible because the spare tire is designed only for temporary use.

(Subaru Forester)

That’s got to be interesting to do if you only have the 1 spare jack that comes with the vehicle :wink:


Speaking of spares, here’s a few ridiculous examples that come to mind . . .

Benz had full-service tires . . . IDENTICAL to the other 4 . . . mounted on “temporary use” rims. The rims weren’t plain jane stamped steel rims. I believe they were some kind of alloy, but painted black. Anyways, the stickers on the rim prominently said speed was limited to about 50mph and 50 miles of use. The numbers may be slightly off, but you guys get the point. You’d think if they give you a full service tire, they might as well mount it on a full-service rim. I guess the penny pinchers won that battle

A few days ago, I parked next to a Suburban at Costco. One rim stood out, because it was stamped steel, whereas the other 3 were factory alloy rims. The rim appeared to be the same size as the others, with the only difference being it was stamped steel. The tire on this rim had identical dimensions to the other 3. All of the “numbers” were the same, yet on the sidewall was a message stating it was a temporary use tire, with limited speed. I’d never heard of a full-size temporary spare before seeing that. I had always though that temporary use tires were typically those skinny donut spares, but I learned something new.

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“That’s got to be interesting to do if you only have the 1 spare jack that comes with the vehicle”

Not too bad…
Jack up the rear, remove wheel and put on spare.
Lower jack
Jack up the front, remove flat, put on wheel from rear.
lower jack

easier alternative: call AAA

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That’s exactly what my first thought was. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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